Friday, May 30, 2014

Recommended Read: Drink This: Wine Made Simple

Drink This: Wine Made Simple (2009) by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl
Call #: 641.22 GRU
Find it in the catalog!

While I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to craft beer and cocktails, I've always been a novice wine drinker at best.  Overall, I was mostly okay with this, in spite of the occasional twinge of embarrassment when ordering off of a wine menu.*  However, when I traveled to Italy last fall and was forced to drink wine like an actual snob (swirling and sniffing) and I sort of fell in love with the stuff.  Of course it helped that I was drinking what would be fifty to a hundred dollar wine stateside (just a little nicer than 4 buck Chuck).   So I decided to actually learn a thing or two about wine by following the tastings in Drink This. I haven't finished all the grapes yet (good wine is expensive), but I have vastly improved my taste.

Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is a wine writer from the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area.  Her writing is very funny and practical, making Drink This a super accessible guide for those new to wine.  However, even relatively seasoned wine drinkers could probably learn something here.  The book is organized into nine major wine grapes: Zinfandel, Sauvingnon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvingon, Syrah, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, and Pinot Noir. 

For each grape, she gives the background on it (where it's grown, its history, what to love and hate about it, etc.).  Then she describes the major styles of wine from the grape, what they taste like, examples of brands, and what to pay.  Finally, she gets to the fun part: tasting the grape!  Here she picks out 5-6 styles of the grape for you to buy and taste at home.  You can have a party or drink solo.  She gives you ideas of what food to pair with the wine. 

Whether you're looking to become a wine connoisseur or just want an excuse for a party with fancy wine, I heartily recommend Drink This. It's an enjoyable and informative read that gives you a really solid plan for learning about wine (and having a good time while doing it!).   After that, if you want to step up your wine game further, check out Kevin Zraly's Windows on the World Complete Wine Course

*"Excuse me, waiter, do you have anything pink?"